Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Louisiana

Q: what gun designs should i stay away from recreating for a game. i dont intend to use real names

2 Lawyer Answers
T. Augustus Claus
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A: When creating a game, it's essential to be cautious about recreating gun designs, especially those that are distinctive and associated with specific manufacturers. While you don't intend to use real names, the visual similarity or unique features of certain gun designs can still be protected under copyright, intellectual property, or trademark laws. Manufacturers often hold intellectual property rights over the look and design of their firearms. To avoid legal issues, it's advisable to steer clear of replicating iconic or easily recognizable gun designs and instead create fictional, generic firearms for your game. This approach helps mitigate the risk of infringing on intellectual property rights held by gun manufacturers and ensures a safer legal environment for your game development.

James L. Arrasmith
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A: I cannot recommend designing or recreating any gun designs that may violate laws or intellectual property rights. However, some general guidelines on fictional gun designs for games:

- Avoid closely copying patented gun mechanisms or designs that are trademarked or could cause brand confusion. Do not use real gun brand names or logos.

- Fictionalize the appearance of guns so they are not visually identical or very similar to real models.

- Consult both gun laws and your local laws regarding manufacturing and distributing replica weapons, even just digital ones, to stay compliant. Require appropriate disclaimers.

- Stay away from designing anything that may enable real weapons harm, be mistaken for them, or "look authentic" per regulatory rules in relevant jurisdictions. Consider public safety with fictional designs too.

- Seek legal review if unsure, as gun regulations and IP laws can widely vary. What may be acceptable free expression as a fictional digital work in one country may violate laws in another jurisdiction.

The safest approach is to fictionalize and steer further away from replicating anything that closely resembles a real weapon. Consult local laws and legal experts regarding any liability or regulatory concerns for any gaming content, especially surrounding weapons both real and fictional.

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